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Apr 17, 2006 10:21 PM

great food in Halifax?

  • k

Heading to Halifax this spring and would like to check out the dining scene. Where should I go for the best the city has to offer? Anyone doing tasting menus?

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  1. Lucky you Kymbrlee.

    Halifax is a great city to dine. My last visit is a few years back so others will likely chime in with some more contemporary reviews.

    If you do a search on this site you will find a number of reviews especially just before and during the summer months of years gone by.

    My favourites in the "higher end" area are FID, da Maurizio's, Bish and Chives.

    A little less hefty on the pocketbook are Il Mercado, Purple Basil [could be Sweet rather than Purple as I always seem to mix them up].

    Seven and several others on or around Spring Garden Rd had not opened the last time I was there. Same thing for neighbourhood spots like Jane On The Commons.

    I have enclosed the URL for a very good resource on Hlfx dining. The owner comes here from time to time so perhaps he/she will see your inquiry and respond.

    Enjoy. Let us know what you liked because every year I keep planning to re-visit.


    1 Reply
    1. re: Bob Mac

      FID and Chives are still my overall favorites in Halifax; for Italian/pasta, I also recommend La Perla, across the harbour in Dartmouth and Cafe Chianti in Halifax.

      I have never been to daMaurizio; it is the most expensive restaurant in Halifax currently (although the new Chateaubriand seems to be giving it a run for its money). Each of these seems to be consistently garnering high ratings, so if price is no object I'd check them out.

      In the more moderate category, Salvatore's pizza is the best in town, Jane's on the Common is a reliable and fun upscale neighborhood spot. John's Lunch in Dartmouth has great clams and fish and chips.

      Anyone coming into town who is staying at the Prince George hotel, must also try their dining room. It is easily the best hotel restaurant in town, and competes on a par with FID and Chives for food quality and inventiveness.


    2. m
      Malcolm Smith

      Kym - Go to Fid first. Chef Dennis Johnston is as good as we've got in Halifax, and Monica will make sure your evening is special - call ahead to arrange a tasting menu. Two other places you should try within an hour's drive: Tempest in Wolfville and Fleur de Sel in Lunenburg.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Malcolm Smith

        I could not agree more.

        I have not been to Tempest or Fleur de Sel, but I have heard a lot about them. Fid is excellent - best meals served in Halifax. I had a piece of bluefin tuna there that was not of this world....

        If I was driving around Nova Scotia, these would be the three restaurants on the top of my list.

      2. Please don't take anything I write here as a recommendation. I think that the last few places I mentioned on this forum went out of business within a few weeks. So I'll just state a few facts. In Halifax, only ten places self-identify as "fine dining". You can find them on my website. Of these ten, Da Maurizio is the best. I have heard no one argue with this. No one. Opinions differ with most of the others. Of the ten, only Château Briand could be said to be new, but it is actually Herve's just moved across the harbour from Dartmouth - classic French cuisine. Café Chianti and the Press Gang get marked down by their atmosphere, Seven by their attitude. Five Fishermen is more popular with tourists than locals and La Perla is self-identified. I don't know why Fiasco on Brenton St. doesn't get more mention.

        If you don't want "fine dining", there are quite a few "up-scale" places which create interest: Gio's should be open by next month - the old Georgio's in the Prince George Hotel with new staff, new menu and new furnishings. Places where marble and onyx are used liberally: Onyx and Atlantis Steak & Lobster Co.
        Sweet Basil mentioned by Mr. McDonald has a new sister restaurant - or rather son - on Spring Garden, just above the Public Gardens: Sæge Bistro. Last I heard the same family was still running Cheapside Café in the Art Gallery - great place for lunch. Sorry, I take that back, I make no recommendations here. Too risky ...

        But there are many more that I could list if you have specific desires.



        4 Replies
        1. re: eatingHal
          Bob tum Agricola

          Sorry, but I cannot agree with you. The qualitity in da Mauricio is not really consistent. E.g. last time the broth for the tortellini in brodo was cloudy and way too salty, and the rabbit was so overcooked that the meat fell from the bones. They have too many cooks there, and not each of them is as great as Mauricio himself.
          Château Briand is small enough and still empty enough to deliver exceptional quality for food and service. The presentation of the food is also much nicer.

          1. re: Bob tum Agricola

            I must agree with Bob... Our two experiences with Da Maurizio in the last year were expensive and disappointing, in that order. The food was served after sitting on the heatrack for a VERY long time - really pretty average. This would be considered a pretty average Italian restaurant in most cities.

            1. re: Bob tum Agricola

              That certainly hasn't been my experience there, as every meal I've had at DaMauricio has been memorable. But I can see how a change in staff might cause a problem.

              BTW, Chateau Briand has closed.

              1. re: Bob tum Agricola

                da Maurizio has been sold, as others have said.

                But contrary to popular belief, Maurizio hasn't been on the line in da Maurizio's kitchen for quite some time. Quality is said to have slipped recently because the souschef who ran the kitchen for years started another business.

                The souschef and his wife are the new owners of da Maurizio. So anyone who has loved it in the past, should love it in the future.

            2. Yes, Kym, Five Fishermen (as mentioned below) is a great place for seafood. The salad/mussel bar (unlimited) for an appetizer is a must. Enjoy your visit!